WHEN is a cat not a cat? When it’s a robocat.
These amazingly lifelike feline friends are bringing a different dimension to the world of pet therapy and are described as the perfect companions for people with dementia.
With realistic fur, these purring, meowing kitties have built-in sensors and respond to being patted, stroked and even hugged.
And the best part is you don’t have to feed them and they won’t scratch the furniture (though the occasional battery change is required).
The lifesize Joy for All Companion Cats are part of a range of sensory and therapeutic products being sold by Alzheimer’s Australia SA’s Stop Dementia Shop online store.
Alzheimer’s Australia SA manager of corporate services Kerri Flanagan said the motorised moggies are comforting for any pet-lover who may no longer be able to care for an actual animal.
“People with dementia often know and recognise the ‘emotion’ from a time gone by when they had pets as kids or young adults,” she said.
“(But) their current-day awareness does not distinguish between real and model-like similarities, which is why these robotic cats and dogs are fantastic.
“I have played with these resources here, and they are truly magnificent in how they respond with purring, eyes blinking, head moving, paw licking, rolling over.
“I was supremely impressed.”
Alzheimer’s Australia SA acting chief executive Rajiv Chand said pet therapy provides meaningful engagement for a person with dementia and can have positive outcomes on their overall well-being.
“Research suggests in the elderly it improves the physical, social, emotional, motivational and cognitive functioning,” he said.
“This can initiate positive memories for a person living with dementia and provide comfort and enjoyment.”
The Stop Dementia Shop online store opened in 2015, with the robotic pets going on sale last year.
The cats are new for 2017.
If canines are more your style, powered puppies are also available.
Funds raised from the online store go back into delivering support and services for people with dementia.
- Hasbro Joy for All Companion Cat, in white, orange tabby and silver, $225, www.stopdementia.com.au